Saturday 23 March 2024

NEAG March 2024 meeting

Around 14 members gathered for a slightly early "April" meeting, for group organiser Andrew's demonstration of how he is working the colour-light signals on his Swinton layout.

Andrew had knocked up a demo board using Kato N gauge track, with various wiring and electronics that he patiently explained, with the help of the computer and a whiteboard. We were treated to a cab view video travelling through the real Swinton, and even had the added benefit of direct experience: one of our members (Ed) works through the station regularly, and shared his frustration with the signalman who has been known to wrongly set the route for Doncaster rather than Leeds after changes to the timetable... The only teething problem today was in the practical demonstration when it transpired that Andrew had unplugged a key component in order to pass it around the group for closer inspection, but no-one had thought to plug it back in again.

The signals themselves are from Absolute Aspects, who were happy to supply only the heads (and feather route indicators), given that Andrew wants, naturally, to scratchbuild more prototypical posts. The main thrust of the talk was how he is using Arduino boards to control the logic for operating the signals: the board is fed information both about the setting of the points – because this is a junction – and about the track occupancy – so that the signals go red automatically as trains pass through them. Occupancy detection uses a nifty little board from Megapoints:

This is just wired in series to the track power feed, and uses an optocoupler to isolate the wires to the Arduino. By programming the Arduino, it is then quite straightforward to get the signals not only to deal with the necessary logic, but also to cycle through the sequence of aspects based on a timer, to pretend that the train is heading on up the line when in reality it's just entered the fiddle yard. We were suitably impressed!

Oh, and of course we were treated to the usual delicious tea...

Sunday 12 December 2021

NEAG Christmas meeting

 A dozen or so of us got together on Saturday the 11th for our Christmas get together which took the form of the third part of group member Ed Orwin's presentation on the Blyth and Tyne railway metals.

The presentation was entitled South of Newsham’ which covered:

Newsham to Northumberland Dock

The Avenue Branch to Tynemouth

Earsdon Junction to New Bridge Street/Manors North.

An interesting look at the railways in that area, and looking to the future some of the lines that will soon enjoy a new lease of life. I'm sure we would all like to see reintroduction of more, previously withdrawn passenger services, in future years. 

Below are some pictures of the gathering. We may appear very thin on the ground but your organiser completely forgot about the Blyth and Tyne club open day at North Shields at which several of our members were operating Fence Houses. 

Have a really good Christmas everybody and we hope to see you in 2022.

Mick S.

Saturday 31 July 2021

NEAG Meeting (yes, physical meeting..!) 31st July 2021

 I am pleased to be able to report that fifteen NEAG members attended the NEAG HQ today and 'resumed' (we hope) what we joined the 2mm Scale Association to do - namely associate with like minded souls, rabbit on about model railways, matters pertaining to them, generally socialise finishing off with a bite to eat and a firm commitment to meet again soon - and that's what we did.

The afternoon was very much a bring along and show what you've achieved during the lockdown period and as you will see from the photographs we had a few examples of the 2mil modellers art.

Below are three shots of some of the buildings for Peter Brown's excellent Alston layout built to fine scale 'N' using the fiNetrax track system and the travel case that contains them when in transit.

Below, Rod McCall is building Teasdale 2 which is a his slightly modified version of his original 2mm fane scale layout and it is coming along very nicely.

Andrew Gibson has made some progress on his relatively modern creation Swinton, the trackwork and civil engineering showing some very competent weathering techniques. 

Below is Geoff Hall's colliery based micro DJLC size layout - this too is coming along very well. The first picture is a close up with the wider view showing the fiddle yard.

Ted Burt smiling, probably because he's the proud owner of one of those new Kato Azumas..!

John Aldrick, also smiling, (wind maybe..?) displaying in front of him his latest work. John builds a lot of coaches and as a result is very good at it. This is reflected in what he has on the table on display.

Anthony Yates brought along his DJLC entry which I have to say I find very inspirational. This is just what a micro layout should be in my view. There isn't an attachable fiddle yard (I've no idea if Anthony is planning one) but it seems to be just right as it is. The loco is a  Highland Railway 'Scrap' tank. The bottom picture is a 'Barney' 0-6-0.

Below here are a couple of general views of the meeting which was as spaced out as we could make it, just to be on the safe side.

Mustn't forget the ladies who looked after us with our tea. All food was pre-prepared this time with the exception of the fruit scones which had to have fresh cream and home made jam added just before consumption. Well, it can't be any other way can it? 
Thanks to Yvonne and Fiona again.

Form an orderly queue everyone - which, of course we did...!

Finally, the table in the foreground had on it some wagons and a couple of locomotives with rebuilt chassis. This was partly the product of my confinement during lockdown. For some reason I didn't take any pictures close up but perhaps more about my exploits another time.

Hopefully this meeting is start of getting some semblance of normality back - my fingers are crossed.

Mick S. 

Sunday 28 March 2021

 Not a progress report - though there is a bit of progress - not even a crowing account of my latest achievement (!). But a request for opinions, so feel free to pile in because I can't decide what's best. My new project, Sovereign Colliery Junction includes a short length of colliery branch. I decided to scenic this little section before doing anything else to sort of get my eye in. I'm tying to create overgrown neglect with that industrial waste land with which many of us are familiar - puddles, evil looking water, sparse and sickly grass. What I cannot decide is whether all this looks better with a fence along the line of the railway, or left open. The pictures show the comparison:

Without fence:

Or with fence:

I'll be grateful for any thoughts.


Monday 11 January 2021

New arrivals at Progress


Hello from Progress. I hope all of you are well and wishing the new year will deliver an opportunity to meet up again for a good chat and a coffee.

The Directors at Progress have a Co-Op Divvy and invested in a few new bits of kit for the railway. Seriously I'm just working my way through my Kit box, there are still a few more Hopper wagons to sort out.   

The EX NER bogie goods van from a Bob Jones Kit. The original (Shotton) Colliery was linked to the rest of the Horden Coal company by the line to Hartlepool.  A reversal would have got Shotton wagons up the coast route to Blackhall and Horden and in my universe loads of supplies such as choppy feed for the pit ponies, oils and lubricants and general stores would have moved between the company sites.

The new J72 and open bogie wagon. Yes, you guessed,  two more Bob Jones kits in the process of being completed. Im not on commission honest.

Special thanks to Mick Simpson for help with the J72. Without his help it would have been confined to my very large scrap box. I could not find a motor to match the one Bob suggested in his instructions so I had to look for a replacement, which I then couldn't fix. Mick kindly stepped in and fixed my hopeless efforts. Thank you.  

More photos will appear in the next few weeks. Again my skills at photography is not great so its a day or so  to look at my files and come up with some better images. Enjoy



Sunday 22 November 2020

 Progress at Progress.

Hello all and welcome to another update from oop north and progress at Progress Pit.

The layout was aimed at the 2mil event at Derby but that now looks a long way off. But hey we can all look forward to something in the future. The layout is based on a colliery setting (looks a bit like Shotton) in the 60's and 70's when I worked for the NCB and these pits were beginning to close so they had a derelict look about them as more resources were given over to the super pits on the Durham coast. 

It is also good for me as I can do poor track and points really well

I am trying to create an atmosphere that suggests a run down screen area and a set of tracks that leads off into an exchange siding at one end and the rest of the pit under the screens at the other.

Most photos are of the screen area and what will be the entrance to the colliery. I chose Shotton because I have memories of crossing the rails in the family car. The crossing was always ungated but I guess in the 60's there was not the numbers of cars on the road as today. 

Turnouts are hand made I cant see well enough to get away with the kits so its soldering all the way. The ordinary track is the plastic base we all know and love. Buildings are built from card, my preferred material and painted to represent age and rust. Wagons are Bob Jones and even I can build them!

Look out for more photos. (Sorry they are not the best but its all my little camera can manage)

Stay safe 

Geoff Hall  

Wednesday 30 September 2020

 Mick has kindly admitted me to the brotherhood - thank you Mick - and said he was interested to see the long-lead point recently completed for Yeovil town.  It's an E15 on a curve - not in the Swinton class, but the longest I will be making, c. 9.5" toe-nose.  It's only unique (?) feature is that the switch blades are so long and thin that they needed 2 working tie-bars to keep the flangeway open through the switch - the simple yoked arrangement seems to work very well (maybe a single tie-bar would have sufficed if I didn't file down the foot of the switch rail).  As always, getting a smooth alignment right through it was the most time-consuming part.  Of interest - our pioneers who set out the 2MM finescale wheel and track standards obviously did a "proper job", as the wheel treads are supported right through the crossing without any dip at all.  And filing down and blackening the wing rails as per Geoff Jones' technique in the "Track" book shows off to particular advantage.

Best Wishes to all,

Laurie Adams